Ken & Cook 3

It’s the new year, hepatitis and the perfect time to try new things. One of my new discoveries is Ken & Cook (19 Kenmare St, NY NY 10012). Located in the Nolita section of Manhattan, it’s a stone’s throw away from the Bowerey, which is the epicenter of low-key locales for small bands, art galleries, and trendy parties.

For over 80 years, 19 Kenmare Street was home to Little Charlie’s Clam bar, a reportedly favored spot for high-level mafia meetings. Now Ken and Cook occupies the space, and will surely add their own history to the address. But who is this savant of savor who is bringing new tastes to Nolita? Enter Chef Hido Holli. He used to own Lumi Restaurant on the Upper East Side, but 13 years ago he sold everything, hired famed American chef Anne Burrell as his replacement, packed his bags and relocated to the kitchens of Paris. Now back in the States, he will add his mark on the downtown restaurant scene.
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When you walk into the restaurant, the low, warm lights immediately give you a French vibe, but the DJ booth tucked neatly in the corner says NYC all day! Whether you grab a table by the window or cozy up with a Peroni in a banquette in the back, prepare for your taste buds to take a journey. While you can enjoy a raw bar and contemporary American favorites (i.e. fried chicken with homemade honey biscuits, oysters Rockefeller, etc.), Chef Hido has added a lot more Euro flair to the restaurant. His new menu of classics offers French finesse with fresh fish swimming in asparagus sauce, Greek gastronomy of organic, fresh lamb chops, and mouth watering Mediterranean fare like fresh pasta with a spicy, red shrimp sauce.

Personally, my favorite appetizer is the octopus salad with artichoke hearts; meaty, yet light at the same time. As an entree, I suggest the grilled tuna with vegetable ratatouille. The freshness of the tuna, cooked to a precise medium finish, marries perfectly to the accompanying vegetables. For dessert, the warm chocolate cake pairs wonderfully with a Rekorderlig Cider. Whether you’re just out for a week night dinner, or if you’re pre-gaming before partying along the streets of Downtown, Ken & Cook is sure to be a hit. And don’t forget to bring your close friends. All of this goodness is too good to keep to yourself.

-Carl Ayers